My husband came home from work early on Thursday and said, “I have to go to Savannah. Grandpa is dying.” He packed his bag, jumped back in the car and drove 5 hours to Savannah to be with his grandfather and family. Just before he left, he gave Lydia a hug and said, “Great-Grandpa is very sick. I think he’s probably going to heaven today.” And when we watched his car pull away Lydia cried and cried saying, “I don’t want Daddy to go! I don’t want Daddy to go!” She wasn’t really crying about her Daddy, or about her Great-Grandpa. She could just feel the seriousness of what’s going on in our family.
My husband has now been in Savannah for 4 nights. He is supposed to come home tonight. Mainly to pick up his sister from the airport tomorrow. Then we will all drive down to be together with the rest of the family. The hardest part is that Great-Grandpa hasn’t died yet. Every few hours they think he’s about to go. And then he regains a little strength. But today is the day they say he just can’t make it through. His body is at the end. So, we assume we’ll have a funeral in a few days and then kiss his family good-bye until the next wedding, or baby or funeral.
Last week, for some reason Lydia and I were talking about funerals. I was trying to describe without going into morbid detail about what happens at a funeral. She just didn’t understand how part of you could still be on earth if you had died and gone to heaven. She knows all about heaven and that her two great-grandmothers are there! I tried to explain about a spirit versus a body. But I hardly get it, so I certainly couldn’t describe it to her. I just reminded her about Jesus’ post-resurrection body that could walk through walls! So, that ended the conversation on a decently positive note.
Then the next week I heard a quote that so clearly shows the separation between body and spirit:
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”— George MacDonald*
Isn’t that lovely? As we talk about Great-Grandpa and death, as we visit the funeral home and say good-bye, I’m hoping to help Lydia understand this point. Great-Grandpa isn’t really dead. It’s just his body that gave out. Great-Grandpa is in heaven. And he is even more Great-Grandpa-ish than he ever was!